Capital Bay: Home prices at record high outside London despite warnings of a slowdown
Wed 18 Feb 2015
House prices in many regions outside London are now at record highs despite recent warnings of a slowdown.
These areas are the South East, South West, West Midlands, East England and Wales. And many counties still
have room for rapid growth, say property experts.
According to the Office for National Statistics, the average UK house price reached 272,000 in December, which
is 2,000 less than at its peak last summer but 1,000 more than the previous month.
Rise up: The average UK house price reached 272,000 in December, 1,000 more than the previous month
London prices are almost double this at 502,000, although this is also some way off its record high of 514,000
While prices in the capital rose by 13 per cent in the last 12 months, this is a much slower than last summer when
annual house price inflation hit 20 per cent.
In the surrounding counties, house price growth is rapidly catching up with London, rising by 12 per cent in the
south east, 11 per cent in the east and 9 per cent in the south-west.
Peter Rollings, of estate agent Marsh & Parsons, said: 'Property price growth enjoyed a rollercoaster ride in 2014,
and while the market has slowed down somewhat from the steep accelerations of the summer, it is still firmly on
track and pressing forward in a steadier fashion.
'In London, where price inflation was pushed higher and higher during the past year due to an imbalance of
supply and demand, growth is still elevated above other regions, but normality is resuming.'
Some good news: The number of mortgages given to first-time buyers reached a seven-year high in 2014
Property prices in every region across the country ended the year higher than at the start, ranging from a 4 per
cent increase in Wales and the north west to a 13 per cent annual uplift in London.
Strong price rises across the country mean that a typical first-time buyer paid 10 per cent more for a property in
December than they would have paid a year earlier.
The average price paid for a house by a first-time buyer in December was 208,000, while for those already on
the property ladder the average price 314,000.
Campbell Robb, of housing charity Shelter, described the house price rises as yet another blow for millions of
people 'with barely a hope of getting on the housing ladder'.
Housing Minister Brandon Lewis said the Government had pledged to build more homes in a bid to ease house
prices and 'help people who work hard and want to get on the property ladder to do so'.
Record low interest rates have helped some buyers to purchase their first home, with 'mortgage wars' breaking
out among the major High Street lenders in recent weeks.
Separate figures released yesterday the number of mortgages given to first-time buyers reached a seven-year
high last year.
More than 300,000 mortgages worth 45billion were handed out to first-time buyers in 2014, marking a 15 per
cent rise on the previous year, the Council of Mortgage Lenders said.
This was despite the introduction of tough new restrictions last year which forced lenders to ask probing questions
to applicants to ensure they could afford their repayments in the event of a significant rise in interest rates.
In 2007, the average age of someone buying their first home was 29 years old, but for the last couple of years the
average first-time buyer has been 30, the CML said.
Paul Smee, director general of the CML, said the industry is 'stronger than a year ago'.
He said: 'Improving economic conditions, boosted by Government schemes like Help To Buy, saw the highest
amount of first-time buyers purchase their first home for seven years.'
Help to Buy is a Government-backed scheme which allows buyers to purchase a home with a small deposit of as
little as 5 per cent.